Sometimes tropes are happy circumstance. Sometimes they’re precisely what one needs. This is the happy place I found myself in recently when I went on a visit to Italy (À la armchair adventure style) in a charming summer villa.
Summer Villa (2016) Hallmark Review
Writer’s block is not Terry Russell’s best friend. Nonetheless it’s her constant companion these days. On the advice of her editor, Terry (Hilarie Burton) packs up her moody teenage daughter, Abby, and the pair travel to France for the summer. Given use of her editor’s family home, Terry finds the villa magical. It looks like the perfect place to regroup, find her voice again and write the next Terry Russell best seller. There’s just one small hitch in the otherwise picture perfect plan.
Matthew Everston (Victor Webster) is coming off a bad review for his restaurant. This is the kind of review that could undo all the hard work he’s poured into his business. Looking for a place to unwind and relax, he decides to travel to the family villa for the summer. Once there, he runs into Terry, and things suddenly become very uncomfortable. You see, Terry and Matthew were set up on a blind date (by her editor, his sister), a date that didn’t quote make it past “hello”…
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One of the best things about the Hallmark trademark is their commitment to quality entertainment. Summer Villa is from last summer’s Summer Nights campaign, but wasn’t one I had ever had the chance to watch. One viewing later, and it has a place at the “favorites table.” There’s something electric about it, all of which I suspect is compelled in part by the exotic location.
Though I don’t know for sure, I did read this filmed in Canada (not unusual for these Hallmark films). This is no way dampens the “feel” of the French countryside; the settings are very “French.” No matter where the characters go or visit, there’s a French “vibe,” and of course, the villa itself is beautiful. It’s the kind of place that looks like something out of a storybook. The scenes of the characters walking the countryside also help “sell” the setting.
The cute character interactions is part of what makes this film so darn cute. Humor is spot-on perfect as is the cast and the “bond” between everyone. Though the story is familiar, the new faces and places easily sway us to their side. It’s this cast that complements the story. I loved seeing Hilarie Burton in another of these films since she’s a favorite from White Collar, and of course, Victor Webster is a favorite Hallmark leading man. He plays each of his characters with a suave kind of gentlemanly characteristic, something that fits the exotic locales well.
A cute, culinary romcom of a film, Summer Villa is sure to make you wish you too were visiting the relaxing and tranquil sights and sounds of this French countryside. ♥
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Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press